Class Conflict in the Time Machine


Written by Hebert George Wells, The Time Machine is a novel that represents the struggle of different social classes. There are two different social classes in the novel, the Eloi’s class and the Morlock’s class.

During his adventures, the traveler encounters the Eloi creatures and luckily gets along with them. On the other hand, he is at loggerheads with the Morlock and a fight emerges between them. Similarly, the Morlock and Eloi do not get along, a fact that separates them.

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Therefore, Darwin’s rule survival for the fittest controls the classes, however, the struggle for survival leads to conflicts and division between the classes. On the other hand, critical analysis of the novel reveals that Wells focuses on the way of life of people in his society whereby there is a clear-cut line dividing the poor and the rich which births conflicts.

Conflict of Class

The time traveler reveals the conflict that exists between the social groups. During his adventure with the time machine, he meets a group of feeble and weak creatures, the Eloi. The Eloi live on the earth surface while the Morlock are underworld creatures. The Eloi are unable to work hard and live in fear especially at night.

The aspect of capitalism prevails where the ruling or rich people occupy the best or fertile land while the others live in abject poverty and this highlights inequality in society hence conflict. The Morlock live in underworld and only to appear during daytime to hunt for the Eloi and feed on them. The fact that one class feeds on the other underscores the height of conflicts in such society.

Due to lack of creativity and innovation, the Eloi do not view the importance of the time machine. Their weak bodies hinder them from lifting the machine; they only observe it in amazement and they eventually desert it. The author highlights the consequence of laziness, as it is the case with most rich people.

The rich people always depend on the poor people for labor; therefore, the dependence on the lower social class to carry out skillful jobs gives the lower class workers an upper hand to be innovative or creative as it exposes them to challenging situations in life.

Unfortunately, the upper social class lags behind in matters concerning innovation and creativity especially during industrialization or warfare. Wells describes the Morlock as tough creatures living underground in well built strong structures.

The narrator is unable to unlock their doors when they steal his time machine. In comparison with the Eloi who have both weak bodies and houses, the author shows the consequences of dependence and lack of unity in the society. The two classes are at loggerheads; therefore, the upper social class lack skills in construction and maintenance of their buildings.

For instance, Weena, from the Eloi social group dies when a conflict emerges between the time traveler and the Morlock. The lack of strength and skills to escape from fire leads to her death. Although the upper class enjoys their lifestyle, the inability to protect themselves and be dependent describes them as the weak creatures.

In addition, due to exploitation, the Eloi and Morlock are at war and do not face each other. The groups live in different worlds; underground (Morlock) and on the surface (Eloi). The Eloi fear the dark while the Morlock only appear at night to hunt for food. Surprisingly, they feed on Eloi who cannot defend themselves, leading to further division.

The existence of warfare, dictatorship, and exploitation between the groups decrease unity among them and increase tension. The time traveler comments that, “the gradual widening of the merely temporary and social difference between the capitalist and the laborer was the key to the whole position” (Wells 60).

However, due to exploitation and oppression of the workers or laborers, the lower social class may revenge against their leaders, as it is the case with Morlock. They will hold demonstrations demanding for their rights and recognition from the upper social classes. Similarly, bitterness, suffering, and frustrations may compel the lower social class to kill, rebel or terrorize the upper class and the world may go to war and through such scenario Wells manages to highlight the conflicts of class struggle.

The author highlights the struggle for survival especially for the lower social class in the society. The Morlock live in underworld and they steal the time traveler’s time machine. When the time traveler decides to get his machine back, a war breaks out.

Accidentally, he lights a fire that kills most of the Morlock. The compulsion to retain the machine cuts short their lives. On the other hand, the Eloi do not care about the machine and overlooks it. Additionally, Wells highlights the consequence of conflicts in the society. The urge to possess or own property may lead to loss of lives as it is the case with the Morlock (Huntington 5).

The upper social class continually posses a lot of property while the lower class has to engage in fights in order to own property. When the time traveler learns about the way of life of the Morlock, he notes, “The rich had been assured of his wealth and comfort, the toiler assured of his life and work” (Semansky 2).

The loss of lives of the Morlock’s group is a good representation of the lower social class, who despite fighting or working hard in their lives, they still end up with nothing. Occasionally, they die or end up in poverty yet their life is not a bed of roses a clear indication of class conflict in society.


Since ancient times, the existence of social classes runs deep in the society. The upper social class isolates the poor and occupies the best land. The rich live in comfort without worries at the expense of the poor who work as laborers.

On the other hand, the lower social class lives in hardship areas and continually struggle for survival. The rich or ruling class exploit, oppress and overwork the poor; however, the inability to work exposes the rich’s fragility, and lack of creativity in society.

As a result, conspicuous differences between the two social classes births conflicts in the society. Unfortunately, the conflicts and separation of the two social groups widen the gap between the poor and rich in the society.

For instance, from the novel, Wells pities the Eloi who are a representation of the upper social class and contemplates on the lives of the Morlock who represent the poor people in the society. Inequality underscores the persistent conflicts in society and Wells succeeds to highlight such conflicts by exploring the relationship between the Eloi and the Morlock in the novel.

Works Cited

Huntington, John. The Logic of Fantasy: H. G. Wells and Science Fiction. New York: University Press, 1982.

Semansky, Chris. Critical Essay on the Time Machine, in Novels for Students. The Gale Group, 2003.

Wells, H. George. The time machine. United Kingdom: William Heinemann press, 1895


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